Steyn set for Super 14 record
Pretoria – Bulls fly-half Morné Steyn is set to become the new South African points record holder in Super rugby during the course of Saturday’s Super 14 match against the Reds in Brisbane.
However, the chances are slim that he will break the record with a drop goal.
Steyn has scored 643 points in Super rugby and is likely to move past the record of 645 set by André Pretorius.
The Bulls pivot is already the leading scorer in this year’s Super 14 on 149 and averages 19 points per game. However, that total includes only one drop goal.
Last year, Steyn succeeded with 11 drop goals in the Super 14.
Bulls kicking coach Vlok Cilliers states that drop goals are a rarity this year compared to last year’s tournament. Last year there were 99 attempted drop goals, with 37 of the efforts coming from the Bulls.
“The big reason is the new application of the breakdown law. Teams are now rather keeping the ball in the red zone close to their opponents’ goal line. The chances are much better that you will score a try or get a penalty and that is why there are less drop goal attempts,” said Cilliers.
There have been 13 successful drop goals to date this year.
“I don’t expect it to increase dramatically. There is just too much reward in keeping the ball and rather attacking,” said Cilliers.
He added that Steyn is aware of the record.
“For him it’s not about that. Morné is aware of what his statistics are, but he won’t hesitate to sacrifice it in the interests of more points for the team. Those two long-range penalties against the Chiefs were a good example. Both were probably just out of his reach, but he still tried because it could possibly have led to points for the team.”
Cilliers points to all the top goalkickers in the competition performing the task better on their home ground.
“The leading kickers’ success ratios dip away from home. Morné is at 80%, but I predict that it will improve when we start playing at Loftus again. There are a number of factors affecting kickers away from home, especially if they kick on a new field every weekend and under different conditions.”
Cilliers said that Steyn’s success ratio is better than it was at the corresponding time last year.
“Morné had the third best success ratio in last year’s Super 14 and kicked at 74%.
“I think the success he had in the Bok jersey, the fact that he could win the Currie Cup with the Blue Bulls and that he could establish himself in the Bok team, led to a better kicking performance.
“We have not changed his technique.”
Cilliers added that Steyn’s lower success ratio on the Springbok tour at the end of last year was to be expected.
“It is averages setting in. Remember, he is not a machine.”
15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Gerhard van der Heever, 13. Stephan Dippenaar, 12. Wynand Olivier, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Fourie du Preez, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Dewald Potgieter, 6. Derick Kuun, 5. Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Danie Rossouw, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Gary Botha, 1. Gurthrö Steenkamp
Substitutes: 16. Bandise Maku, 17. Bees Roux, 18. Flip van der Merwe, 19. Deon Stegmann, 20. John Mametsa/Heini Adams, 21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22. Pedrie Wannenberg/Jaco Engels